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Pasta Makes You Fat: Myth Or Fact?

Pasta Makes You Fat: Myth Or Fact?

Please be a myth… please be a myth. Maybe if we all cross our fingers?

Does Pasta Make You Fat?

Not necessarily. The myth stems from the way that pasta is processed by your body. Concerns about this process and its association with difficulties in losing weight have contributed to the commonly accepted attitude that “white and refined” carbs are evil and not to be touched. We all know the low carb craze has beat into us that pasta is not the way to go. But is this attitude based on fact or fiction?

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What does the Glycemic Index (GI) have to do with my beloved pasta?

The glycemic index explains how a food with carbs will affect your blood sugar levels. Higher Glycemic Index values associated with a particular food item usually indicates that they are foods that will cause you to keep weight on and have difficulty losing weight, unless the item is consumed in moderation. Traditionally pasta has been an example of a high glycemic index food. However, the way in which it is cooked has been found to affect the glycemic index making it an item that can be consumed.

Al Dente Preparation Is The Key

What does “al dente” mean?

“Al Dente” means cooked firm to the bite. The term can be applied to rice, beans, pasta and vegetables.

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Pasta that is cooked “al dente” does have a lower glycemic index.

The glycemic index is an evidenced-based, scientific process that is used to measure how foods affect blood sugar. This is particularly significant for people with medical issues with their blood sugar levels, such as people wishing to manage their diabetes or manage their insulin resistance.The index goes beyond just the number of carbohydrates that a food contains and looks at how the food is broken down by the body. The higher the food is on the glycemic index the more it affects your blood sugar. Therefore cooking the pasta “al dente” will allow your body to break down the pasta in a way that is healthier for your body to process.

Do I Have To Eat Whole Wheat Pasta?

No, “al dente” cooking of the pasta should do the trick. I am especially relieved to read this because I can say from experience that I don’t love the whole wheat pastas I have tried. I may be trying the wrong ones, in their defense. It was mentioned in the article that I will link below, that pasta company Barilla has made a change in their structure of pasta that is supposed to make it easier for your body to break it down over the course of time. That is definitely going a long way to dispose of the “evil” pasta reputation.

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To review- “I’m tired and I want to make pasta. Am I going to end up fat?” No, and here is a bonus: you don’t have to cook it as long. Ergo you will have the food on your plate faster. Just remember: you want to have the pasta cooked “al dente.”

Is buckwheat pasta or brown rice better for me than “al dente” pasta?

As long as you consume it cooked firm to the bite, the buckweat pasta is comparable to the glycemic index of the other options mentioned. The pasta will give you a steady release of energy that keeps you feeling full longer and you won’t have to run a marathon to work it off (though, let’s be honest we should all be doing that, right?)

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If you are interested in reading a little more on fact and fiction in foods please go to this link.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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